Wireless Networks

A wireless network refers to any type of computer or machine-to-machine (M2M) link communicating without the need of cables or wires. This is commonly associated with telecommunication networks where the interconnections between nodes (connecting points) are implemented wirelessly.

Cellular phones, modems and routers are part of a large wireless network system. People, computers and machines use these devices to communicate or manage, monitor and control remote machines or computers. The information can be sent through a wireless network system using satellites or other signals (i.e. GSM/GPRS).

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)

GSM is a cellular network that allow mobile devices to connect to it from cells in the immediate vicinity. The GSM network has five different cell sizes – macro, micro, pico, femto and umbrella cells. The coverage area of each cell varies according to the implementation environment.

GSM networks operate in different frequency ranges, separated into 2G and UMTS frequency bands for 3G. The 2G GSM network operates in the 900MHz or 1800MHz bands, while in Canada and the US the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands are used as the 900MHz and 1800MHz are already allocated. In some countries the 400MHz and 450MHz bands are assigned for first generation systems.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)

GSM DiagramGPRS is a packet oriented mobile data service; it is available for 2G cellular communication, GSM and 3G systems (modems, routers and embedded systems). GPRS provides data rates, this is the speed of data transfer from one medium to another. In 2G systems, GPRS sends 56-114kbit of data per second.

The GPRS protocol sits in the GSM, 2G and 3G network extending the circuit switch data (data transmissions) in order to allow;

  • “Always on” internet access
  • MMS and SMS (30SMS messages per minute)
  • PoC/PTT (Puch to talk)
  • Instant messaging and presence – wireless village
  • WAP (Wireless application protocol) to allow Internet applications for smart devices
  • Point-to-point services via IP’s

The GPRS connection is established by reference to its access point name (APN). The APN defines the WAP (wireless protocol) access. An APN must be specified to permit a GPRS connection.

3G (IMT-2000)

The 3G network is the third generation of mobile networking and telecommunications. It features advanced network capacity and wider range of services to the previous 2G network. It also increases the rate of data and information transfer known as spectral efficiency. Video and broadband wireless data transfers has received a wider area and more range.


HSDPA is an enhanced 3G mobile telephony communication protocol in the HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) family, also known as 3.5G, 3G+ or turbo 3G, it allows networks based on UMTS to have a higher data transfer speed and capacity. HSDPA supports down-link speeds of 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 14.0 Mbit/s. Speed increase is available with HSPA+, which provides speeds of up to 42 Mbit/s downlink and 84 Mbit/s.


Wi-Fi is increasingly used as a synonym for 802.11 WLANs, although it is technically a certification of interoperability between 802.11 devices. Fixed Wireless Data implements point to point links between computers or networks at two locations, often using dedicated microwave or laser beams over line of sight.

GPS (Global Positioning System)

GPS is a global navigation satellite system located in space, it provides reliable location and time information in all weather conditions from anywhere on the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of site for GPS satellites.
GPS can be used to aid navigation, tracking and surveillance worldwide.


The Zigbee network is a wireless control technology used for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Zigbee operates on the IEEE 802.15.4 radio specification and operates in bands including 2.4GHz, 900MHz and 868MHz.

The Zigbee platform has been designed to maintain a strong RF communication through hostile environments that are usually common in commercial and industrial applications.

For further information on machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless networks please email sales@adaptivemodules.com.